North Carolina repealed its controversial “bathroom law” on Thursday, following more than a year of outrage from Democrats, LGBT advocates, and civil-rights leaders.
But the bill that lawmakers replaced it with has liberal groups even more furious.
The new bill, House Bill 142, does away with the law that blocked transgender people from using the bathrooms that aligned with their gender identity, and curbed local governments’ ability to pass LGBT protections. But it also ensures that all bathroom-related measures must be handled by the state, and that local governments can’t pass certain LGBT protections until Dec. 1, 2020.
The bill was introduced by the state’s Republican leadership late Wednesday night, and hailed as a “compromise” by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. The bill cleared both chambers of the legislature on Thursday and was quickly signed into law by Cooper.
LGBT groups erupted, claiming the state had doubled down on discrimination:
“This bill does nothing to repeal HB2,” said Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin in a joint statement with Equality North Carolina and the National Center for Transgender Equality. “Instead, it institutes a statewide prohibition on equality by banning non-discrimination protections across North Carolina and fuels the flames of anti-transgender hate.”
“Each and every lawmaker who supported this bill has betrayed the LGBTQ community,” he added, vowing that his organization will fight the law in court.
The state NAACP chapter put it even more bluntly:
“This is a bait and switch,” chapter president William Barber said in a statement.
“Any moratorium on civil rights is not a compromise, it is a contradiction with the principle of equal protection under the law and our moral values,” he added. “We call on all those who stand for justice to vote no on compromise and pass a clean, full repeal of HB2.”
The ACLU said the new bill reinforces “the worst aspects of the law”
“North Carolina lawmakers should be ashamed of this backroom deal that continues to play politics with the lives of LGBT North Carolinians,” said James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s LGBT project.
In the same statement, Simone Bell, a regional director of LGBT civil rights group Lambda Legal, said the law still leaves her community “unprotected.”
“Lawmakers replaced a bad bill with another bad bill. This fake repeal is an attempt to silence LGBT people,” she said. “It is shameful to stamp a start date on equality.”